Friends, I am terribly sorry that this article is being published so late – the truth of the matter is that I didn’t sleep well at all and spent pretty much the entire day catching back up. I stumbled upon this animated public service announcement the other day, featuring two characters named Arnie Bacteria and Sal Monella. This first one possibly released back in 1973, these animated hooligans were dreamed up by the United States Department of Agriculture – in an effort to teach children as well as their parents the importance of food safety. The internet is a repository of such animated curiosities but at times it can be frustrating to learn more about them – I could not find anything about the company responsible for producing the animation for this short. Although from various places on the web, I’ve read that the announcer for at least this first PSA – Arnie & Sal in the Kitchen – features none other than Jackson Beck as narrator.
Jackson Beck was a legendary voice over actor, while getting his start in old time radio as the announcer for the The Adventures of Superman and The Cisco Kid series – he also was the voice of Bluto/Brutus in various Popeye animated shorts. Although for those of us of a certain age I am sure you will recognize his voice as the narrator for the ’80s G.I. Joe animated series and film.
I have a feeling that the Arnie & Sal public service announcements might have been handled by different animation studios over the years. Take this second one I found featuring Arnie and Sal dropping by to cause problems at a Thanksgiving dinner. The animation on the first PSA reminds me of the style of the DePatie-Freleng studios – this second one feels like a throwback to a more ‘classic’ animation style.
Then there is Sal & Arnie at the Germs Convention – which The Museum of Classic Chicago Television says was aired on April 17th of 1977. This public service announcement features what might possibly be animated children’s drawings – to say nothing of the fact that it features a live action elements.
There might be more public service announcements featuring Arnie & Sal – at least that appears to be the case by checking out the comments on the videos. Do you know of any others by chance – we would love to hear about them in the comments.
While it is most certainly a couple of days after Thanksgiving I felt I should do my best to get a Pop Culture Retrorama podcast out today – a look at the top 5 Thanksgiving Specials that helped me through this month. If you are a fan of the Saturday Frights podcast you might have realized that sadly there was no new show for the month of November, in this Pop Culture Retrorama special episode I explain why that is. It is a very valid reason and as I mention in the show itself – this special today is in part an apology for not being able to get more podcasts out this month. As I also mention, not all of the specials are the kind we think of during this Holiday season – say like 1968’s The Mouse on the Mayflower – in fact some of the offerings on this top 5 list are just Thanksgiving themed television episodes. I do feel however after saying all of that you won’t be too shocked by what made my list of must-see Thanksgiving Specials.
Being a special podcast episode, this year’s Top 5 Thanksgiving Specials runs just a little shorter than a standard show. I have done my best to give you a brief synopsis for each entry on the list as well as bring along a few audio treats for your listening pleasure. In addition I fervently hope you will share your own must-see Thanksgiving Specials that you watched this Holiday season in the comments section below. Furthermore I hope there might be one or two on the list that you’ve not had the pleasure of catching before – maybe you can track them down while you are taking a break from shopping or throwing that big Thanksgiving get together.
As I always do I share my personal recollections and connections with each of the entries on the Top 5 Thanksgiving Specials list. I also take a moment at the end of this podcast to share a few of the things that I am extremely grateful for – which not to be a spoiler most assuredly includes you – for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen to the show.
If you have any suggestions for topics you would like for us to cover in a future episode -or possibly you have comments on the current show itself, email them to me at VicSagePopCulture@gmail.com You can also contact me on Facebook or even Twitter. Or perhaps check out the Pop Culture Retrorama Facebook page? There you can find posts a couple of times a day – featuring vintage commercials, comic book ads and toys.
The theme used at the beginning and ending of this episode was provided by Earl Green, if you enjoy his work, make sure to check out his exceptional spot on the internet – TheLogBook.com – let him know we sent you.
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The late and great John Hughes, for many of a certain age, was able to capture the essence of what it was like to be a teenager in the ’80s – or at least distill what it felt like to be growing up in that era. In my early teens… without any friends and having no social life to speak of – there were many films that I saw that I just assumed was what a normal teenager was experiencing in those days. A few of those were courtesy of Hughes – who brought us 1984’s Sixteen Candles, a year later there was The Breakfast Club, and of course 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The latter perhaps exemplifies how my High School years truly were – especially my Senior year… minus the beautiful on-screen kiss at the Chicago Art Institute and the moving instrumental version of The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” – or the near cosmic understanding of my self while looking at Georges Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”. Besides the absence of those three elements it FELT my Life was very much like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – and while I may have believed I was Ferris… the truth is I was more Cameron Frye.
As I’ve already said, John Hughes was able to capture what it felt like growing up in the ’80s. In total he Directed eight films and when he passed away at the far too young age of 59, back in 2009 – he had 51 writing credits to his name. Hughes yet again was able to tap into or represent the culture of youth but that doesn’t mean he shied away from what it felt like to be an adult too. Whether that be with 1983’s Mr. Mom, 1987’s Planes, Trains & Automobiles, 1989’s Uncle Buck, or even 1991’s oft-overlooked Dutch. But since today is Thanksgiving, one of the films I always attempt to watch on this Holiday is of course Planes, Trains & Automobiles. A comedic and yet poignant masterpiece – Produced, Directed, as well as written by John Hughes.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Planes, Trains & Automobiles before – you owe it to yourself to try and check it out. It stars the esteemed Steve Martin as Neal Page, an advertising account executive who after a trip to New York City must attempt to return back home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. Fate has other plans for Page however as he crosses paths with Del Griffith who appears to be a walking and talking disaster for Page’s Holiday travel plans – and was played by the equally late and great John Candy. Like many of John Hughes films, I have found there is an incredible amount of heart to them – Planes, Trains & Automobiles is no exception. I find the film to be a Thanksgiving masterpiece not just because of the comedy – and there is a ton of it – but for it’s simple and reaffirming message about people… even with all of their foibles, especially when presented in a comedic light.
So I truly hope you are having an absolutely fantastic Holiday and I very much hope it’s with your Friends and Family. If you are looking for that perfect film to catch later today – check out Planes, Trains & Automobiles – but you don’t have to take my word for it, listen to what the Retroist has to say about it.